As with adults, dental sedation is a very safe procedure for children. Here, our Surrey dentists explain a little about how dental sedation for children works, and some tips on how parents can make the process go more smoothly.
Why is my dentist recommending sedation for my child?
If a child is going to undergo a long, complex procedure the dentist may recommend dental sedation for the child. Dentists may also suggest sedation for patients who are especially nervous or young.
Dental sedation can also be helpful for children with special needs. Sedation can make it possible for special needs children to receive the dental treatment they need, treatment that might otherwise be extremely stressful for the child or even impossible.
Types of Sedation for Children
Much the same as adults, the primary types of sedation dentists most commonly use for children are: oral sedation, nitrous oxide and intravenous sedation.
- When the child first arrives for their appointment oral sedation will be given by mouth or through the nose. Oral sedation takes up to 20 minutes to begin working. This form of dental sedation helps the child to relax but does not put patients to sleep.
- Nitrous oxide can help children to remain calm during dental treatment. Within a few minutes of the Nitrous oxide being delivered via a mask, the child will begin to feel relaxed and experience feelings of euphoria. Once the procedure has been completed pure oxygen is given to the patient to clear out any remaining nitrous oxide that may be in their system.
- Nitrous oxide sends the child to sleep before a needle is inserted into a vein on the back of the child's hand. Once the child is asleep intravenous sedation is delivered through the needle. To aid breathing, a tube is also inserted into the child's throat.
Safety Precautions for Children’s Dental Sedation
It's important to note that children tend to tolerate sedation dental procedures best if the parents understand what is happening and prepare their child before the appointment.
Your Surrey dentists at Guildford Dental will be happy to answer all your questions, and will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for your child's sedation appointment.
One of the things your dentist will give you is clear instructions on restricting food and drink leading up to your child's sedation appointment.
Deciding ahead of time what your child will wear to the appointment is helpful. You will want to dress your child in comfortable loose-fitting clothing that will allow our dental team to attach monitors quickly and with minimal disruption to your child.
A full medical history will be requested prior to your child's treatment. This is your opportunity to inform the dentist if your child is receiving any over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, or prescriptions.
Ensuring the patient's safety is paramount during dental sedation! While sedated, your child's blood pressure, blood oxygen level, heart rate and temperature will be closely monitored by our team of professionals.
Two adults should accompany the child or teen home after dental sedation — one to drive, and the other to monitor the child's breathing. Going back to school or daycare on the day of the appointment is definitely not an option since some of the longer-lasting aftereffects of sedation include loss of physical coordination, dizziness, sleepiness and nausea.
Only give your child soft foods for the first few hours after the dental procedure. Once their mouth has healed, your child may continue caring for their teeth as normal.